Mexico Charges Ex - President for 1968 Massacre

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Mexican prosecutors filed long-awaited charges on Monday against former President Luis Echeverria for a 1968 student massacre by soldiers and police that was the bloodiest moment of a brutal crackdown on dissidents.

In the latest test of President Vicente Fox's pledge to punish those responsible for past repression, a special prosecutor presented genocide and kidnapping charges against Echeverria and seven others for the October 2, 1968, blood bath at a student rally in Mexico City.

``It has been almost 37 years of impunity and justice denied,'' prosecutor Ignacio Carrillo told Reuters. ``Now for the first time it is possible that the justice system may perform its duty.''

The criminal court judge in Mexico City has until Tuesday afternoon to decide whether to issue arrest orders or dismiss the charges, although the deadline may be extended an additional day. The case file contains 34,600 pages.

Echeverria was interior minister and head of national security at the time of the massacre.

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